Outside the Ambassador’s Chambers
“Well then,” Celestia said after her relief that the men would accept the mission, “I feel that we’ve been rude in that we didn’t get to introduce ourselves.” Michael and Ray cringed sheepishly at that.
“Sorry, princess,” Michael said, still smiling with slight guilt, “that was mostly our fault.” He gestured to himself and Ray for emphasis. Celestia only chuckled lightly.
“It’s quite alright.” she continued, “I am Princess Celestia. I control the sunrise and sunset, for those who don’t know.” She showed emphasis by directing a playful little smile towards Michael and Ray, then returned her attention to the rest of the group, “This is my sister, Princess Luna,” she gestured with a hoof towards Luna, to which Luna bowed her head slightly, “She controls the rising and setting of the moon. And finally, Princess Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship.” Twilight simply smiled and nodded once to indicate that she was the owner of the name. “Princess Cadence could not be here for as long as all six of you were unconscious. She is the Princess of the Crystal Empire and had to return to her subjects and ensure the safety of the Crystal Heart.” All of the AH Crew were confused as to what the Crystal Empire is, who Cadence was, and what the Crystal Heart was. They all turned to Michael, seeing as he is the most educated on the topic.
“I’ll tell you guys about it later.” Michael responded to their obvious confusion. After being answered, all of the AH Crew returned attention back to the princesses before them.
“So,” Luna broke the momentary silence, “what are your names, pray tell?” Geoff decided to speak up first.
“Well, my name is Geoff Ramsey.” Geoff looked at the rest of his friends as a nonverbal cue to introduce themselves. One by one, they each introduced themselves.
“Ray Narvaez Jr.”
“And last, but certainly not least,….” Gavin prepared for an extravagant bow making the three princesses snicker, “...Gavin Free.” He said as he bowed to match the preparation.
“Just call him David,” Jack said chuckling, directing the comment to the princesses but gesturing to Gavin..
“Right then, Shannon.” Gavin retorted, making all of the AH Crew laugh (mainly how he said it combined with what he said) as the princesses stood there, not understanding the assumed inside joke they were all sharing. Celestia was noticing how the one named Geoff was finally loosening up. She felt that since they were the ones in the foreign environment, the princesses should do their best to ensure the trip back to their universe was completely possible. Even then, she understood Geoff’s worry and fear of not returning home.
Celestia cleared her throat, which made the laughter slowly dissipate. “I am glad you all are beginning to ease yourselves, despite the situation we have found you in,” with that, all of the Crew remembered how dire their position is and smiles began to fade slightly, “but we should get you all up to Starswirl’s Tower to get you acquainted with your…”
“Sorry, to interrupt,” Gavin said, clutching his stomach, “but we’ve been out cold for like two days. And I don’t know about you Lads and Gents, but I’m starvin’.” His stomach grumbled loudly, to which Geoff’s and Jacks followed in suit. The AH Crew conversed between each other about their collective hunger and thirst. As Celestia began to ensure food after their business in Starswirl’s Tower, Twilight spoke before Celestia could.
“Princess Celestia, I’ll take them to the dining hall to have them fed, and then I’ll escort them to the Tower to receive their spells.” Celestia looked at the group of six men. Although they’ve already had a few laughs and introduced each other, she still remains on guard against them. “And besides,” Twilight continued, “you and Princess Luna have been glued to the books looking for those gems that who knows how far you and Luna are behind on your work with the ponies of Equestria.” Celestia thought about this.
“She is right, sister,” Luna went off of what Twilight said, “we haven’t given any thought of Equestria in the moment. We have only been thinking of it’s future. Maybe we should return to our duties and have Twilight be our in-between to the col- I mean men.” Celestia continued thinking about this choice. After hearing both her sister and her faithful student attempt convincing her, she made her decision.
“Alright,” she said, to which Twilight squealed giddily. She leaned down to Twilight’s ear and whispered, “Make sure to keep an eye on them at all times I still do not fully trust them.” Twilight stopped her excited spasms and nodded towards Celestia, confirming she will do as Celestia instructs. “Now then,” she rose back up to her royal posture, “my sister and I will leave you six in Twilight’s care. Should Twilight inform me of any of your disruptive behavior, there will be consequences.” She received a mix of nods and flimsy salutes from the AH Crew. She then turned with her lunar sister following her down the corridor in the direction of the throne room.
Twilight, now alone with the Crew, directed her attention to them. She held her excited emotions within her as she began to walk by them in the opposite direction that the princesses went. The AH Crew followed closely behind Twilight, since they all do not want to upset any of the princesses they were just introduced to.
In the halls of Canterlot Castle
Twilight walked her way through the immense halls, weaving left and right with confidence. Ryan, Ray, and Gavin simply “ooh”ed and “ahh”ed at the art, the shininess, and the views the castle beheld from the middle of their little tour group. Jack and Geoff simply walked from the rear, believing Michael would be best suited to talk to the more important ponies since he understands them better than anyone in their group. Coincidentally, Twilight trusted Michael the most, as he seemed the most educated of her world. Although, this brought suspicion how he was able to recognize the three alicorns without ever personally meeting them before. He shed light on this suspicion in hopes of calming her alertness.
“So humans have this thing called ‘TV.’” Michael began his explanation, “There are shows that play on the TV, and some of them are meant for kids.” Twilight was intrigued at this technology that didn’t require magic at all. “One of those kids shows is actually your universe.” Twilight was shocked hearing this.
“So your people watch our world constantly for entertainment?? And it’s a show for children! What are you doing watching it??” Twilight said in a low-yelling voice with her face slightly flushed. Michael, noticing she’s reading too deeply into it, put his hands out and shook his head.
“No, no, god not like that.” Although, he doesn’t mention the stranger section of the fanbase, he does decide to keep that information to himself. “The show only shows the certain parts of you and your friends’ biggest adventures that involve friendship, to which the female kids from our universe use as lessons to themselves to apply in their lives.” Twilight eased her embarrassing thoughts to a halt at the sound of this explanation.
“Okay…” she started again, “But that doesn’t explain why you, a grown up man, is watching a show like that.” Michael chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck.
“Yeah, about that: there’s quite a few people more or less like me in my universe, in the sense that we watch that show. We’re called ‘Bronies.’ Don’t ask me why we do it, everyone’s reasons are different.”
“Fair enough.” Twilight said. “Bronies?” she questioned out loud, more to herself than to Michael. “Well, between you, your friends, and myself, it’s best we not mention it to anypony else. Not even Celestia. There’d be discomfort and uneasiness throughout all of Equestria.”
“Ignorance is bliss.” Michael said, looking over his shoulder. Gavin had his head all the way back looking at the ceiling’s decor and began falling back towards Geoff. He bumped into Geoff as Geoff gave a laughing ‘watch where you’re going, dumbass!’ Michael then turned his attention back to Twilight. They had turned another corner and Michael was thinking about how out of character Celestia was when they first met. Her aggressiveness shocked him to say the least.
“Hey, Twilight?” Twilight lifted an ear with a ‘hmm?’ towards Michael, “Why did Celestia want to throw us in the dungeon while we were out? It doesn’t seem like her to do something like that so...impulsively.” She knew the answer, and she was unsure how to explain to him why she is like that, along with all of the colts and fillies of Equestria. She felt she should just tell him since he entrusted something he believed was fictional to her.
“Well, in Equestrian mythology, the human was a warmongering, savage, and brutal creature. Since they did not control magic, they compensated for having ‘hands.’” Michael listened carefully, as this was something not discussed in the show. He started to think that the show was it’s own separate universe from even this one, since the show never mentioned humans. But that doesn’t explain the movies where Twilight becomes a human. He started getting a headache thinking about all the possibilities of universes that may or may not exist. He instead continued listening to Twilight.
“In our stories,” she continued, “we have seen humans perform awesome feats of combat against timberwolves, manticores, and even the fiercest dragons. But they did not segregate ponies from their combative nature. Pillaged and burned villages and whole cities. They were beasts of destruction, essentially.” She stayed silent for a moment, and finally looked at him. “But you’re people aren’t like that...are they?” Michael thought as they walked, Twilight not taking her eyes off of Michael. He had to answer her truthfully, but the longer he thought, the more it seemed like what he would say is a lie. So he gave her his best answer.
“Not entirely.” Michael said with an unsure tone. Twilight seemed oblivious to his tone, only listening to what he was saying. “We do wage wars, but on ourselves really. To each other. All because of what we believe to be right.” He gestured towards Geoff at the back of the group with his head, “Geoff over there was in the military. But I don’t think he’s actually killed anyone.” Twilight glanced over her shoulder towards Geoff to get a look at him, but quickly turned back as the two made momentary eye contact. “He was a photojournalist in the Army, but his job was taking pictures or whatever. Anyway, humans aren’t that bad. There are jerks, like I’m sure there are some in your species, and there are some nice ones too, like us.” Michael gave her a smile as he finished to solidify what he said. Twilight sighed an internal sigh of relief that these men shouldn’t cause any trouble. She made a mental note to herself to inform the princesses about this newfound information about humans, according to Michael. Twilight, now more relaxed, wanted to learn something physical about the humans. Michael had turned his attention to the hallway signifying the end of the “warmongering” conversation, but she still wanted to learn.
“So since this TV you speak of does not use magic as it’s energy source, and since all six of you were unconscious for two days, I assume magic is not a normal thing in your universe?” Twilight asked, looking ahead as she saw the dining hall approaching slowly. Although she can clearly hear the sounds of amazement from the three men behind her, she can also hear the grumbling of Geoff and Jack at the very back of the group. Despite the laughs and easiness of Michael, Ray, Ryan, and Gavin, it seemed Geoff and Jack were going to be the hardest to get them to come to terms with all of this. Michael’s voice woke her from her thought driven trance.
“Nah,” he said nonchalantly, “magic isn’t really a thing in our universe. Just in stories and stuff.” Twilight nodded as she understood something.
“Well,” she said as the group was closing the distance to the dining hall door, “that explains why you six were out for two days. You aren’t used to magic, so it had a greater toll on you than we anticipated. I’ll make sure to make note of that in my notes on the effects of that spell.” Her horn glowed with a light purple hue, to which the door’s handle matched to same glow. “Anyways, enough information trade for now,” she opened the doors to the massive dining hall with about twelve servants lined up to the long table, “let’s get you boys something to eat.”
Ten minutes earlier
Geoff and Jack decided to hang at the back of the group and watch Ryan, Ray, and Gavin’s dumbstruck faces as they looked at all of the art. Geoff and Jack both felt the same in this situation: trying to be calm, but in a panicky way. They would remind themselves that these princesses could help them with their “mission” and help them get back home, yet they feel that they may have jumped the gun in accepting the mission.
“You think I was a bit hasty with that choice, Jack?” Geoff asked with guilt strewn on his face.
“Nah,” Jack replied with a wave of his hand, “you were just looking out for us. You didn’t want those pony things to hurt us or throw us in prison so you decided it would be a good idea to bide time to figure stuff out, right?” Geoff looked at Jack, awestruck as Jack read him like a Dr. Seuss book. Jack knew what Geoff’s plan was before Geoff himself even knew what it was.
“Well, I don’t feel like I should have spoken for you guys,” Geoff returned his attention forward to Michael and Twilight, “even if you guys looked like I should have answered.” Geoff looked down, feeling the guilt on his face began reaching his heart. Jack was there first though.
“Hey,” Jack nudged Geoff with his fist, but Geoff didn’t respond, “if we didn’t trust you to answer for us, we would’ve said something. Now stop beating yourself up about it.” Geoff glanced at jack and felt more secure, even smiled a bit. From his time in the Army and with Rooster Teeth, he felt that he was a natural born leader. But he also felt something heavy weigh down on his chest… No literally, something was on his chest. Gavin had leaned back so far to look at the ceiling that he was falling on Geoff. Geoff chuckled and pushed Gavin forward.
“Watch where you’re going, dumbass.” Gavin staggered forward with his eyes glued to the ceiling. Gavin’s wild nature always seemed to cheer Geoff up, even in times like this. They had turned a corner, and as they did so, Jack’s stomach grumbled again.
“So, you think we’re close?” Jack said, “‘Cause that felt like the tenth corner we’ve turned and we haven’t gotten there yet.” It was Geoff’s stomach’s turn to rumble, as he felt his stomach.
“I don’t know man, but I’m hungry as dicks.”
The group continued their walk, while Geoff and Jack remained silent, watching Ryan, Ray, and Gavin continue their sightseeing. In the middle of his amusement of the three in front of him, Geoff looked past them. For a moment, he saw Twilight look back at him. She quickly turned her attention to the conversation she was having with Michael.
“Hey Jack,” Geoff said, still looking at Twilight, “you think they can really get us back home?” Jack just kept walking, as he saw the door to what seems like the dining hall. After seconds of no response, Geoff turned his attention to Jack fully. Jack responded to this with a sigh.
“Honestly, Geoff? I have no clue whether or not they can help us.” Geoff felt the same way, but still didn’t show much worry as Jack and him were on a roll with being on the same wavelength in thought. “But if they have the magic to bring us here, I’m pretty sure there’s a way to send us back.” With those final words of confidence after a brief moment of strife, the doors were pushed open by Twilight’s magic.
Grand Dining Hall
After the Crew and Twilight all occupied the seven out of twenty-four seats, the servants disappeared behind a door where plates were clattering and jumbled voices clamored. The Crew, excluding Michael, got further acquainted with Twilight. They learned the little things about her: how she was taken under Celestia’s metaphorical wing, how she met her friends The Mane 6, and how she became a princess. Her mastery of magic impressed all of them, even Geoff. Gavin even showed her a few parlor tricks that he’d picked up over the years. Twilight would then point out how he performed each trick and then 1UP’d him by actually performing the illusion but with real magic. They were there for about thirty minutes, distracting themselves from the nagging hunger in their bellies, until the food finally arrived. Unicorn servers pushed trolleys filled with plates of high end lettuce, tomatoes, apples, daisies and other food items of the sort. Plates and cider glasses were levitated onto the table in front of each Lad, Gent, and Twilight. All six men sat staring at their plates.
“Thank you, sirs,” Twilight said to the servants who bowed and exited through the same doors they brought the food from. Twilight began quietly eating. She realized the only munching came from her as she picked her head up and saw the confused men in front of her. Unsurprisingly, the least confused being Michael who decided to start eating as well. “Something wrong guys?” She turned to Ryan who sat closest to her right of the foot of the table. “Ryan?”
“Uhhh…” Ryan said, slightly lifting up a piece of lettuce letting the tomatoes and apples fall off of it, “...I think it’s missing something.”
“Oh?” Twilight said, examining his plate, “And what would that be?” Ryan let go of the lettuce, still gazing at his plate. Michael continued munching on the lettuce and apples to Ryan’s right.
“Some forks? And meat maybe? If those are things?” Ryan’s voice got slightly higher at the end of each question. Ryan felt an immediate punch to the shoulder from Michael. “Owww,” Ryan grabbed his shoulder, “what was that for?”
“Youf canf fushing ath futhat!!” Michael’s mouth was still full when he spoke in what sounded like garbled nonsense to Ryan.
“Chew and swallow, Michael.” Ryan said slowly as if talking to a child or a pet. Michael began swallowing chunks of food. “There you go, good Michael.” Ryan said as he pat Michael’s head. Gavin was snickering next to Michael while Geoff and Jack were chuckling with food still in their mouths across the table. Ray sat next to Jack just horking down the contents of the plate, not noticing what’s happening. Michael swatted Ryan’s hand as Michael swallowed the last of the lettuce in his mouth.
“First of all, I’m not a fucking dog. Second, there is no meat in this world and you can’t just ask them for it!”
“I’m an omnivorous man that also needs meat! What am I supposed to do? Eat sesame seeds for the rest of the time we’re here??”
“It’s better than just straight up asking a herbivore for meat!”
“Then I’ll just go outside and kill a cow and cook it on my own!”
“Free Edgar 2013.” Ray said, tossing lettuce at Ryan.
“Ryan, Michael, please calm down.” Twilight said with some authority and firmness. Ryan and Michael stopped their bickering and looked at Twilight.
“Yeah, you heard Twilight Twinkle,” Geoff said with food in his mouth and chuckling, “chill out and fucking sit down.” Michael and Ryan glared at each other and then sat down, with Michael still mumbling under his breath.
“It’s ‘Sparkle,’” Twilight corrected Geoff, “but thank you Geoff.”
“No problem, Shitty-Movie-Adaptation-Of-A-Shitty-Book Sparkle” Twilight rolled her eyes with a scoff, obviously not understanding the reference. She turned to face Michael and Ryan.
“Michael, although I appreciate your concern for our species’ diets, remember that our universe is not entirely the same as the one you know. Thus leading me to Ryan: this dish is simply the pre-entree salad. There will be meats and more cider to come. This was prepared the day you six arrived as we assumed that you were omnivorous from the myths and stories.” Twilight smiled at their quickness to returning back to their original playful state.
As if on cue, the entree trolleys rolled into the dining hall. The salad plates were removed and the water cups were refilled. Geoff had a mug of cider with his water as it was already past noon by now and he wanted to drink to help ease the stress of the day. All of the others, excluding Ray, also had their mugs of cider but for the purpose of feast rather than drink. The men were greeted by many different types of meats and vegetables. The six men gazed at the plethora of food sprawled down their sections of the table. As quickly as they came, the servers left once again. Ryan would be the first to say anything prior to any feast of this magnitude.
“Tonight!” Ryan said with volume as his right foot landed on his seat and he held his mug in the air, holding the heroic pose, “we feast like kings!” The other four raised their mugs (glass for Ray), and said a hearty “cheers” to begin the cartoonishly large meal and to later discuss the matters at hand on a full stomach.